Summer 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 3/4 Fiction |

Now That I’m Back

Mama's always telling people what I can and cannot do. "He can get that for himself, Esme! Leave him be!" she hisses. Me, reaching up for Whirlies on a supermarket shelf. The Cheerios are too high up, so I've plumped for the generics down below. I'd rather not have Mama humiliated in front of Esme Severin, née Duchamp. We steer away from cereals and trundle down the aisle. Esme, Mama powering the trolley, me in my own set of wheels. "Louis, will you go get two tinned tomatoes? I forgot." She says this nonchalantly, head turned the other way as if she's got weightier matters on her mind. If her friend weren't here she'd have got them herself. Esme doesn't usually come with us, so Mama's showing off today. "Praise Jehovah!" Esme says, regarding me. "Young man so independent." She thinks I'm out of earshot, but I can hear every word. "Amen!" Mama sighs. "Amen." Esme is Mama's friend from Saint Lucia, though they met in church just up the road. She's an angel right

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